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Crime & Justiceby Mark Reutter1:37 pmMay 11, 20180

Pugh suspends police commissioner with pay

Darryl De Sousa is out until his criminal tax charges are resolved

Above: Police Commissioner De Sousa and Mayor Pugh at a recent Violence Reduction Initiative meeting. (Fern Shen)

Baltimore’s rookie police commissioner, Darryl De Sousa, has been suspended, effective immediately, in the wake of yesterday’s tax charges.

Reversing course from her declaration of “full confidence” in De Sousa yesterday, Mayor Catherine Pugh announced his suspension at a 1 p.m. press conference at City Hall.

Pressure mounted on Pugh overnight to take action, including from the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police, who noted that any misdemeanor charge against a rank-and-file officer would result in immediate suspension and loss of police powers.

Deputy Commissioner Gary Tuggle will serve as acting commissioner.

The mayor defended De Sousa’s short reign as Baltimore’s top cop. A 30-year veteran of the department, De Sousa was selected by Pugh in January after she fired Kevin Davis following a record-breaking streak of homicides and gun violence in Baltimore.

Yesterday, the U.S District Attorney’s Office charged De Sousa with failure to file three years of tax returns.

Almost immediately, De Sousa apologized for not filing federal and state tax returns in 2013, 2014 and 2015, saying he had not properly prioritized his private affairs.

De Sousa did not offer to resign or take a leave of absence. The mayor followed up his statement by saying he had made “a mistake” that he would rectify.

Significantly, prosecutors have disclosed that they are actively investigating other possible crimes by De Sousa.

Today the mayor said De Sousa’s paid suspension would continue until his criminal tax charges were resolved.

Significantly, prosecutors have disclosed that they are actively investigating other possible crimes by De Sousa.

The same prosecutors led the successful plea bargains and jury convictions of BPD’s Gun Trace Task Force squad earlier this year.

One of those ex-cops, Thomas Allers, was sentenced today to 15 years in federal prison for racketeering and for staging nine robberies while on duty as an officer.

Allers admitted to stealing $117,000 – together with swearing out false affidavits and submitting false incident reports – while serving on the GTTF, whose alleged crime-fighting prowess was celebrated  by BPD brass.

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